Dry Eyelids

What causes dry eyelids?

The most common causes of dry eyelids are dry and cold weather, certain skin care products, environmental allergens, contact dermatitis and excessive eye rubbing. The skin around your eyes is very thin and more sensitive than the skin on the other parts of your body. So, it’s more prone to irritation. Everything from aging to allergens in the environment can make it red, dry and flaky.

What are the signs and symptoms of dry eyelids?

Flaking dry skin with redness and itching. The itching is usually a hallmark of an allergic reaction. Most often due to new cosmetic products or other allergens that come in contact with the skin.

How to treat dry eyelids?

It’s important to incorporate a dry lid treatment regimen into your daily routine. At night, apply a small amount of moisturizing ointment before bedtime to help trap moisture in your lids while you sleep. Also avoid using any cosmetic products on your eyelids. If the lids are red and itchy a small dab of 1% hydrocortisone cream or gel will help calm things down. This should only be used for a very short period of time as for a day or two. Steroid compounds that leak into the eye may raise your eye pressure if used for an extended period of time.

What are the home remedies to treat dry eyelids?

Small amounts of Vaseline on the lids to retain moisture will help the skin heal and remain hydrated. If the lids are red and irritated, cold compresses will also help bring the inflammation down. This can be made with an ice pack wrapped in a towel used for about 10 minutes two or three times per day. If the lid skin is split or cracked, a very small amount of zinc oxide as in desitin cream or ointment will help heal the fissure. Make sure to keep on the eyelid only and to avoid getting into your eyes.

Can dry eyelids become complicated?

Dry eyelids can become a more serious problem if the skin becomes infected. This will make the eyelid very red, swollen and painful. If this occurs, see your doctor as soon as possible to be treated with oral antibiotics.

When to see a doctor?

If symptoms do not resolve in a few days or get worse see your doctor for evaluation and treatment. If left untreated, dry eyelids may become chronic and lead to other complications such as infection and scarring. It’s important to seek medical help if your symptoms don’t improve in a few days.

Can stress cause dry eyelids?

Stress can trigger a release of corticotropin-releasing hormone, glucocorticoids, and epinephrine which are indirectly involved in flare ups of psoriasis, acne and dermatitis. While the exact mechanism of stress induced skin complications is not completely understood, we do know that stress has a long term deleterious effect on skin health and may contribute to dry eyelids in the absence of other causes.

Can I put olive oil or Vaseline on my eyelids?  

Small amounts of Vaseline directly on the lid and not in the eye should be OK. Olive oil is too thin and may run into the eye itself creating a burning sensation and blurred vision.

Cataracts and Driving Safely

As we age, our eyes undergo a number of changes. One common eye condition that affects older adults is cataracts. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye, and they can cause a number of problems, including decreased vision and even blindness. One particularly important issue for older drivers is how cataracts affect driving. Here we will explore how cataracts can impact driving safety and what you can do to stay safe on the road.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye. The cataract may form slowly over time, or it might happen suddenly as a result of eye trauma, medications, or changes due to diabetes. Clouded lenses can make driving more hazardous for older drivers because they interfere with their vision and also make it hard to see while driving at night or in poor weather conditions.

How do cataracts affect night driving?

Cataracts increase glare and reduce the sharpness of vision, causing the cataract patient to see halos around headlights or streetlights against a dark background. Drivers need to be aware that cataract patients may not be able to see them coming. Cataracts make it hard for cataract patients trying to find their position within a lane and put themselves in danger by changing lanes at night without being very careful about surrounding vehicles.

How do cataracts affect day driving?

Cataracts can also affect day driving, as they reduce the contrast in colors and make it hard to see objects in bright sunlight because of increasing glare. This can be a particular problem for older drivers, as they may have a harder time adjusting to changing light conditions. Cataract patients should take extra care when driving during the day, and should try wearing polarized sunglasses to reduce glare being reflected from the windshield.

What cataract symptoms should older adults look out for?

Older drivers who have cataracts often experience problems with night driving. If you notice that you are having a hard time seeing at night, or that it is harder to see objects in the dark, then cataracts may be affecting your driving safety. If you have cataracts that you suspect are affecting your driving ability, then you should make an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible to determine the extent of your cataracts and whether you are a candidate for cataract surgery.

What cataract treatment is available?

Changing your eyeglass prescription may improve your vision if you have early cataracts. In more advanced stages, prescription eyeglass changes won’t improve your vision and cataract surgery will be necessary.

Cataracts are usually treated with cataract surgery, in which the cloudy lens of your eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. The surgery typically takes about 20 minutes, and cataract patients often see better almost immediately following cataract surgery.

What can cataract patients do to be safer drivers?

Drivers with cataracts should drive conservatively and should avoid driving at night or in poor weather conditions. They should only drive during the day with their best eyeglass or contact lens prescription and appropriate sun wear. Cataract patients should also get regular eye exams because cataracts may increase over time, causing more vision problems and making cataract patients more likely to be in car accidents.

Eye Yoga

Dr. Shedlo was recently quoted in Bustle for an article on “Eye Yoga”.

Then there’s the issue of eye strain. “If you have normal vision and don’t need glasses for the distance, your eyes need to change focus to see things up close,” says optometrist Dr. Norman Shedlo, OD. By staring at a screen all day, especially one that’s right in front of your face, Norman says your eyes have to work overtime to stay focused, which can lead to muscle fatigue.

Symptoms of eye strain or fatigue include redness, dryness, burning and itching, tearing, blurred vision, and even headaches. If you don’t take regular breaks while using screens, Shedlo says it can also lead to bigger problems down the road like nearsightedness. It’s all the more reason to do “eye yoga” exercises throughout the day to help keep your peepers healthy.